National News

5 things for December 8: Brexit, Russia probe, Congress, wildfires, school shooting

Posted December 5, 2017 1:39 p.m. EST

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1. Brexit

We haven't talked about Brexit in forever, probably because the negotiations have been a lot less interesting than last year's historic vote. But the UK's divorce from the European Union has crossed a major hurdle, with a deal reached on the issue of the Irish border. Ireland is staying in the EU, and there were fears that border checkpoints between Ireland (which remains in the EU) and Northern Ireland (part of the UK) would hurt both economies and lead to unrest in the North. But this morning, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister Theresa May announced there would be no "hard" border controls between the two. Now, Brexit talks move on to the truly hard work: hammering out a trade agreement.

2. Russia investigation

The British publicist who arranged the June 2016 meeting with Russians and Donald Trump Jr. sent multiple emails to a Russian participant and a member of Donald Trump's inner circle later that summer, multiple sources told CNN, the first indication there was any follow-up after the meeting.

The emails raise new questions for congressional investigators about what was discussed at Trump Tower. Trump Jr. has for months contended that after being promised he would get dirt on Hillary Clinton, the brief meeting focused almost exclusively on the issue of Russian adoptions, saying there was no discussion with the participants after that session.

3. Sexual harassment and Congress

Two more members of Congress are leaving amid claims of sexual harassment. Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks put out a statement last night saying he'll resign in January. Franks said he had talked with two female staffers about them possibly becoming surrogates who could bear children for him and his wife. He acknowledged this made them uncomfortable but denied any sexual contact with them. The House Ethics Committee was about to start investigating him. CNN's Chris Cillizza says the whole thing is just plain bizarre.

Hours earlier, Al Franken had said he would leave the Senate amid claims he touched women inappropriately. But the Minnesota Democrat gave a defiant speech on the Senate floor, saying some allegations were not true. He also wondered why he had to lose his job while President Trump kept his and Roy Moore runs for the Senate in Alabama. That makes three members of Congress announcing their exits this week, including Rep. John Conyers. 

4. California wildfires

The entire Los Angeles area is at risk as six large wildfires are now burning through Southern California. The newest fires -- the Lilac Fire, which has burned three people, and the Liberty Fire -- are north of San Diego. But the biggest blaze is still the massive Thomas Fire north of LA, which may go down as one of the most destructive fires in California history. In addition to burning homes and businesses, it's threatened the Getty Museum and killed several horses. Together, the six fires have burned more than 141,000 acres and forced 190,000 people from their homes. Here's how you can help those affected. 

5. School shooting

Two students were killed in a shooting at a high school in New Mexico. The shooter, who also was killed, was male, but officials haven't said if he was a student. The shooting happened right around 8 a.m. at Aztec High School in Aztec, a small town about three hours from Albuquerque. Students talked of hearing gunshots and hiding in their classrooms.


20 years

That's the prison sentence given to ex-South Carolina police officer Michael Slager, who killed Walter Scott in April 2015. Scott's slaying reignited "Black Lives Matter" protests.


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